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How to Choose a Sports Medicine Physician

Author: Tim Bert, M.D.

If you’re an athlete, you know that the right coach and the right equipment is everything. But there’s another asset every athlete needs, whether you’re performing at the professional level or just trying to bump up to the high school varsity level… a great sports medicine physician. If you’re looking to find a sports medicine doctor in Mesa, Phoenix or Tempe, AZ, we invite you to come visit us at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute. As you look for the right fit, check out the four essential qualities we see in great sports med doctors.

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4 Key Factors to Look for In Your Sports Medicine Doctor

#1 Heavily Networked. Sports medicine physicians don’t always work alone. While we’re successfully using regenerative medicine techniques like stem cell and PRP injections now more than ever, the surgeon’s role is still vastly important. A great sports medicine physician will have a robust network of orthopaedic surgeons he can refer his patients to. Ask your sports medicine physician about which surgeons he refers patients to – and why.

#2 Specialized in Sports Medicine. How much time does your “sports medicine doctor” spend working with athletes? What level of athlete does he/she work with most? Also, be aware that “Sports Medicine” is a subspecialty that’s recognized by both Medicare and the American Board of Medical Subspecialties. Sports medicine specialists must undergo at least 12-13 years of training (17,200 – 23,000 hours) in order to practice. (Learn more.)

#3 Highly Experienced. Malcolm Gladwell is famous for his “10,000 Hour” theory, as proffered in his bestseller, Outliers. The idea is that in order to become a master, a person must spend at least 10,000 hours practicing their craft. While a lot of experience – no matter a person’s field – is simply gained through rote practice, there’s something to be said for the intensity of the practice. Four years in a high-volume sports med practice with professional athletes may produce more “experience” for a physician than nine years in a low-volume clinic in a less populated area.

#4 Client Roster. Lastly, client roster isn’t everything, but it can be a good indicator of trust and public reputation. A strong client roster is often the natural outflow of the first three “key factors” (networked, specialized, and experienced).

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What qualities are important to you when choosing a sports medicine physician? Let us know. We’re here to get you in top shape and – if you’re injured – back in the game! To schedule an appointment with a sports medicine physician at Hedley Orthopaedic Institute, call our Phoenix/Tempe office at 602-553-3113 or Mesa office at 480-354-5900.

Please consult with your physician before undertaking any form of medical treatment or adopting any exercise program or dietary guidelines.



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